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IN DEPTH EXTRA: Deck Accessories

Railings, lighting, mouldings and other complements are growing rapidly as homeowners look to expand their outdoor-living space and blend interior and exterior.

As the outdoor living market grows, the market for deck accessory items continues to expand. Product lines that include railings, lighting, mouldings and other categories are gaining more attention for deck projects, with new items added regularly. Dealers who stay abreast of the latest items and alert their customers to the options can make a more complete sale and provide better (and often high-margin) service.

“Consumers are expanding their outdoor-living space and dressing it up more than ever before,” says Kevin Harris, director of sales and marketing for AGS Stainless Inc. “It’s becoming an extension of their home, making the space more inviting and more usable for more activities.” Adds Del Leutbecher, vice president of business development at Feeney Cable, “Homeowners are moving out of the kitchen or living room onto the deck in a smooth transition. They want the spaces to be more similar and are adding furniture, fire pits, hot tubs and other entertainment areas.”

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ReadyRail-AGS-StainlessThe ReadyRail prefabricated railing system from AGS Stainless offers a 100% stainless-steel railing system precut to size for fast installation. Two prepackaged kits can accommodate up to 20′ or 40′ railing sections with either top-mounted or side-mounted posts. The kits can be combined to accommodate larger projects and can accommodate a wooden top rail.

Those products often consist of different materials being combined, Leutbecher notes. “We’re seeing more mixed-medium installations. There’s a big trend to mix materials of all kinds—wood, rock, metal, leather, everything.” Scott Rolufs, regional sales manager for BW Creative Railing Systems, agrees. “A strong trend in deck railing that continues to grow is the use of mixed materials, in particular wood rails with powder-coated metal baluster infill.”

Railing options are proliferating, as customers recognize the impact that these vertical “faces” can have on a deck’s appearance from a distance. “People have long been focused on the types of decking material they use, and now they’re paying more attention to their railings and getting a match to their deck products,” says Harris. “They’re even matching their interior spaces so they can blend the two and make a transition.” Leutbecher agrees. “Homeowners are looking beyond wood to alternatives due to maintenance issues. There are a lot of materials to work with.”

Cable infill is a growing part of the market. “We’re seeing an increased interest in cable infill, there’s definitely broadening interest in the category,” says Dan Nourse, manager of sales and customer service for Ultra-Tec railings at The Cable Connection. That interest extends beyond the professional deck builder, he notes. “Homeowners are finding the products and find them to be appealing. They’re low maintenance and invisible.”

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